Black-and-white portraits pop against walls of silver damask. An antique love seat sidles up to a zebra-printed chest. A chandelier's light glints against a table's gilded filigree. Although The Beauty Dive's historic-cottage setting radiates all things vintage, there is nothing dated about the pampering that occurs at the able hands of owner Yvette Reese and her staff. Yvette suffuses her studio with an atmosphere of creativity, encouraging her stylists and aestheticians to heed their own artistic inspiration as they forge modern hairstyles, eye-catching nails, and captivating cosmetic applications. To keep the image artisans up-to-date on the latest techniques, industry experts arrive every few months to lavish the staff with hands-on training and lessons in split-end psychology.
As stylists sculpt coifs to flatter individual faces, pedicure clients melt into oversize armchairs and bask in the skills of a master Shellac nail technician, who dips feet in fresh bowls of lavender-infused water before refining nails with sterile implements, unused files and buffers, and Opi and CND polishes. The beauty experts wield serums by Eminence Organics, Rusk, and Kevin Murphy, each of which are available for purchase to aid at-home primping. Between services, clients sip on wine, champagne, and martinis as they browse the boutique's collection of accessories and apparel from Johnny Was and 4 Love and Liberty, savoring a better union of sparkles and spirits than the wedding-ring speakeasies of the 1920 diamond prohibition.
Virtually no aesthetic concerns go unaddressed at Essentials Spa and Salon, which employs a diverse team of stylists and aestheticians as well as med-spa technicians armed with contemporary cosmetic technology. The salon staff keeps its clients looking sharp by pampering tresses with haircare products by Moroccanoil, KMS, and L'Oréal Professional, and the nail technicians augment their mani-pedis with everything from paraffin dips to agave-nectar rubs.
The massage therapists treat concerns beneath the surface by kneading overstressed muscles with a variety of soothing modalities, but the med-spa team also strives to effect deeper changes. Overseen by Dr. Michael Lesser, the technicians can employ cutting-edge equipment and products, including microdermabrasion wands, a cosmetic laser system, and clinical-strength skincare balms. These treatments collectively rejuvenate the skin while minimizing the appearance of blemishes that typically accompany aging, sun exposure, or frequent naps in a bathtub full of wet newspapers.
Oatmeal has many uses: some people eat it for breakfast, rich horses spread it on crackers, and the list goes on. But the staff at Royal Crown Spa harnesses the cleansing power of the oats for footbaths. Headlining the spa’s soleful healing treatment, the oatmeal footbath is accompanied by a sea-salt scrub, paraffin wrap, and foot massage. This and other soothing body treatments—alongside a spread of massage and facial treatments—constitute the spa’s full menu of relaxation and aesthetic services.
The beauty experts at Allure Laser & Day Spa rely on state-of-the-art aesthetic technology to help their clients look their best. Armed with Candela’s GentleLASE Plus laser, they zap away unwanted fuzz, reducing the need for razors, wax, and tiny lawn mowers. Microdermabrasion treatments paired with ExcellaWave ultrasound energy revitalize tired complexions, whereas SkinMedica peels fight wrinkles and encourage cell renewal.
The best way to learn a new skill is to do it. And at the Austin Institute for Massage & Spa Therapies, professional therapists—who work in the field every day—inspire students during the massage mastery program. Students explore massage techniques alongside lessons in anatomy as a part of an extensive, comprehensive curriculum that culminates in official licensing from the state of Texas.
The institute's director and co-founder, Raul Flores, has worked tirelessly in the field since 1991—in practice, consulting, and education. He and his team have created a spa-like atmosphere within a 3,500-square-foot space where students get hands-on experience in real-life scenarios, such as in one of nine massage rooms, near an aromatherapy bath, or in the drawing room with the candelabra.